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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Vietnam scholars to study at URI

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 9, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island and the Vietnam Education Foundation have entered an agreement to allow top scholars from Vietnam to enter the University of Rhode Island for graduate education in science and technology.

The Vietnam Education Foundation ( is a special initiative by the U.S. Congress to bring the U.S. and Vietnam closer through educational exchanges. The Foundation is in its second year of operation and receives full support of the U.S. National Academies in its fellowship selection process.

Currently, the program has more than 100 Fellows at 37 top U.S. graduate institutions, mostly for doctoral degrees. Other New England institutions include Brown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern, Tufts, Yale, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst. All VEF Fellows are required to return to Vietnam after completing their academic programs in the U.S.

The foundation is governed by a board of directors whose members include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, U.S. Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel; U.S. Representatives George Miller and Chris Smith, and six presidential appointees: Frank Jao, president and CEO of Bridgecreek Development Company; Herbert Allison Jr., CEO of TIAA-CREF; Robert Bryant, professor of mathematics, Duke University; Charles Nguyen, dean of the School of Engineering, Catholic University of America; Marilyn Pattillo, professor of clinical nursing, University of Texas at Austin; and Toi Van Vo, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Tufts University.

Lynn Pasquerella, associate dean of URIís Graduate School, praised the program. "The VEF Alliance will enable the University of Rhode Island to further its mission by providing access to excellence in higher education, enhancing diversity on campus, and training the next generation of leaders in science, technology, and education," she said.

Kien Pham, executive director of VEF said: "We are delighted to have the
University of Rhode Island in the VEF Alliance. The Alliance is a select group of leading universities in the United States that share VEFís mission. Together we will help transform science and technology in Vietnam and in the process, serve as enduring bridges between the two countries."